National

India,South Korea draw close; step up business, military ties

India,South Korea draw close; step up business, military ties

By Vishnu Makhijani

Seoul, (IANS) Indicative of a growing closeness, India and South Korea Sunday aimed to double their annual trade to $40 billion by 2015, boosted military ties and eased visa norms to promote more business contacts.

“Bilateral trade has risen by 65 percent over the past two years since the implementation of our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. We have therefore set a new target of $40 billion by 2015,” visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a joint media interaction with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak after their summit talks here.

“We also agreed to accelerate work in progress to upgrade the Agreement and make it more ambitious,” added Manmohan Singh, who concluded his two-day official visit to South Korea that came ahead of the March 26-27 Nuclear Security Conference here.

This is Manmohan Singh’s second visit to South Korea in two years. He was here in 2010 for the G-20 summit. Lee was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade in 2010, while Indian President Pratibha Patil had visited Seoul last July, when the two countries signed an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.

Manmohan Singh was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Blue House presidential palace, where, with a bone-chilling breeze blowing, he inspected a guard of honour made up of soldies dresed in contemporary and traditional uniforms and interacted with Indian and South Korean schoolchildren who enthusiastically waved flags of the two countries.

After the talks, Lee hosted a lunch for Manmohan Singh at the Blue House.

The talks, Manmohan Singh said, were “aimed at adding momentum and substance to our strategic partnership. Ours is a partnership built on shared values that provide a firm foundation for further development”, adding the two leaders “agreed that our strong economic ties are fundamental to our growing interaction”.

“I invited Korean firms to invest in India in a big way. Companies such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung are already household names in India. We would like to see small and medium sized Korean companies also making India a base for their manufacturing,” the prime minister said.

“I informed President Lee that India is making a huge effort in upgrading our physical infrastructure. We want Korean companies to help us realize this objective and benefit from the opportunities provided by this,” Manmohan Singh added.

Noting that the two countries had agreed to expand political and security cooperation, the prime minister said: “With this objective in mind, I informed President Lee of India’s decision to position a defence attache at our embassy here in Seoul before the end of the year.”

At a briefing later for the Indian media accompanying the prime minister, Sanjay Singh, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry, asserted that these growing relations would not impact ties with China.

“Our relations with one country are not predicated on ties with other countries,” he said.

Referring to South Korea hosting the Nuclear Security Summit, Manmohan Singh said he requested President Lee “for Korea’s support to India’s quest to join international regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement”.

The two countries also expressed concern over North Korea’s plans to launch an “application satellite” next month, saying nothing should be done to increase tensions in the region.

They slso discussed ways and means to enhance cooperation between their scientists and technicians, including how to operationalize a joint Science and Technology Fund of $10 million.

“India has also offered to launch Korean satellites on Indian space launch vehicles,” the prime minister said.

The Indian leader praised South Korea’s transformation into a developed economy and said “Korean companies were among the first to respose confidence in India after we opened our economy in 1991. Many Korean brands are household names in India.”

Since 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, “we agreed to celebrate this year in a befitting manner”, Manmohan Singh said.

He also invited President Lee to visit India.

The visa agreement was signed by Sanjay Singh, secretary (east), in the Indian External Affairs Ministry and Kim Sung-han, the South Korean vice foreign minister.

More in National

  • USA vs China military confrontation may become a reality under Trump

    Washington: United States and China are on a collision course. A week into White House, and Donald...

  • AMU school admissions form available for classes I, VI and IX

    NVONews Desk, Aligarh: The Directorate of School Education, Aligarh Muslim University has started the circulation of admission forms for the classes I, VI and IX of the University associated schools. The forms have been uploaded on the University website. While the online submission of application forms will be allowed till 17.2.2017, the...

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s Samadhi gets a make over after 15 years

    NVONews Desk, New Delhi: For more than 10,000 domestic and foreign visitors who visit Mahatma Gandhiji’s Samadhi at Rajghat in the national capital every day, there is nothing much to engage the visitors about his life and and thoughts other than the black stone platform that marks the spot where Gandhiji was...

  • Know who will be the next vice chancellor of AMU?

    NVOnews Desk, ALIGARH: A special meeting of the Executive Council of the Aligarh Muslim University was held...

  • Contribution of first AMU chancellor, Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum, documented

    NVONews Desk Aligarh: Dr Faiza Abbasi’s article titled, ‘Nawab Sultan Jahan Begum: The First Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University’ recently featured in the special issue on Indian Women in the University News, New Delhi, organ of the Association of Indian Universities. Dr Abbasi is the Assistant Director of the UGC Human...

  • Jallikattu ban issue – Tamil Nadu Chief Minister calls on PM Modi

    New Delhi: The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri O. Paneerselvam, called on the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today. The ban imposed on Jallikattu by the Supreme Court came up for discussion. While appreciating the cultural significance of Jallikattu, the Prime Minister observed that the matter is presently sub-judice. The Centre...

  • Hamid Ansari, India’s Vice President expresses shock over Etah accident

    New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has expressed his deep distress over the accident in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh today. Following is the text of Vice President’s message: “I am deeply distressed to learn of the accident in Etah district of Uttar Pradesh earlier today that...

  • Chakma migrants discuss their issues with top minister

    Chakma migrants discuss their issues with top minister  New Delhi: A delegation of All India “Chakma” Social Forum called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh here yesterday and sought his intervention...